The Pottsville Maroons

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The Pottsville Maroons were an American Football team that played in the NFL from 1925 to 1928. The Maroons’ home stadium was the Minersville Park in Pottsville, Pennsylvania.

How did the Pottsville Maroons Start up?

The franchise that became the Maroons had been in existence since 1920 and was known as the Pottsville Eleven. The team roster mainly consisted of Yorkville Hose Company firemen. Initially the team played as a freelancer, unaffiliated to any league and mainly played against other teams in the Pottsville area. In 1924, they were purchased by a surgeon called John Striegel and they started playing in the Anthracite League. They joined the NFL the following season following the collapse of the Anthracite League.

The Pottsville Maroons in Competition

The Maroons made their competitive debut in the NHL on September 27, 1925, winning 28-0 over the Buffalo Bisons. After losing their next game 6-0 to the Providence Steam Roller, they recovered to win their next four games before they were blanked 20-0 by the Frankford Yellow Jackets. Two weeks later, they would exact revenge over the Yellow jackets with a 49-0 win in Pottsville. Finishing the season with a 10-2 record, the Maroons should have won the league. However they were suspended for committing an infringement on the Yellow Jackets’ territory by playing the Notre Dame All Star in Philadelphia. With the Maroons out of contention, the Chicago Cardinals hastily organized two games against the Hammond Pros and Milwaukee Badgers and went ahead in the standings to claim the league title.

The following season, the Maroons continued their fine form, winning their first four straight games. After a slight glitch that saw them lose 14-0 to the Providence Steam Roller, they got their championships chances high by winning the next six games. However a tie and a loss against the Buffalo Rangers and the Chicago Bears respectively saw them hand over command for the title to the Frankford Yellow Jackets, with whom they were to play the final game of the season. A scoreless tie in Frankford would see the Yellow Jackets run away with the Championship as the Maroons finished the season in third with a 10-2-2 record.

At the beginning of the 1927, several key players departed as the team was unable to meet their financial obligations, and the setback showed as they lost four of the first six games. They finished the season with a poor 5-8 record. In 1928, with the team under new custodial ownership of three players, they deteriorated further, posting a mediocre 2-8 record.

Pottsville Maroons most Notable Moments

The controversy surrounding the 1925 championship remains the subject for which the Maroons are remembered to this date. When the Maroons played the Notre Dame All Stars in an exhibition game, they were already at the summit of the league and were almost confirmed champions. Since the Minersville Park was too small, the Maroons planned to play the All Stars at the Shibe Park in Philadelphia. However the Frankford Yellow jackets complained that that would amount to territorial infringement.

The maroons went ahead with the game and won 9-7, essentially crowning them champions. However the league found the Yellow Jackets’ claims to be legitimate and they suspended the Maroons. With the Maroons unable to finish their schedule, the Chicago Cardinals stole ahead after scheduling two additional games. Eventually, they finished with a better record than the Maroons and were crowned champions, despite their game against the Hammond Pros also being ridden with controversy. To date, that debacle continues to be a subject of intense debate with many believing the Maroons were wrongfully denied the title.

Pottsville Maroons most Notable Players

Barney Wentz played fullback for the Maroons from 1925 to 1928. He was a regular scorer, with his best tally for the Maroons coming in 1926 when he led the team with 60 points.

Charlie Berry was with the franchise for the first two years and was instrumental to their stellar performance in 1925, top scoring for the team, with 74 points.

Tony Latone was a fullback who played for the Maroons from 1925 to 1928. Aside from his shift in defense, he was among the team’s top scorers with his best tally of 40 points coming in 1925.

What Happened to the Pottsville Maroons?

Despite being immensely popular in Pottsville, the Maroons’ finances were constricted by the lack of an adequate home stadium. Also, the league was at a period where teams were relocating to larger metropolitan communities with more lucrative markets. Nevertheless, the team weathered the challenges early on and was one of the best teams in the league.

However, starting 1927, the club went into reverse mode after several players departed the team, which affected performance. After initially loaning out the team to three players at the beginning of 1928, owner Striegel sold the team at the end of that season to a group of investors from New England. The Maroons were relocated to Boston and renamed the Boston Bulldogs, but they survived only one year before folding.